Former South African President Nelson Mandela died today at the age of 95, after succumbing to a long battle with a lung infection.
He served as the first black president of South Africa and brought an end to apartheid, but his story of struggle began decades before — when he was arrested and imprisoned for life in 1962.
For 18 of his 27 years behind bars, he was housed at Robben Island west of Cape Town in an 8-foot by 7-foot concrete cell with only a straw mat to sleep on. He was eventually released from prison on Feb. 2, 1990.
In June, President Obama visited the site of Mandela’s imprisonment, and White House photographer Pete Souza took photos from the visit. We thought it worth sharing those photos again.
In the visitors book for the island, the President wrote that he and his family were “deeply humbled to stand where men of such courage faced down injustice and refused to yield.”
He went on to write that “no shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit.”
Margaret Talev, a White House correspondent for Bloomberg, took a photo of the President’s guest book entry:
It was the first trip to the prison for Obama as president. He had been there before, in 2006, while serving as a U.S. senator.
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